Top tips for managing the summer holidays as a separated parent

July 4, 2023

With the weather now improving it is finally starting to feel like summer! As the sun is shining, many of us will be starting to think about our summer holiday plans. Maybe you will be jetting off abroad or maybe you will be enjoying a “staycation” … Whatever your plans, managing holiday periods with children can be tricky especially when you are separated.

As the summer holidays are fast approaching, now is the time to start considering the childcare and holiday arrangements with the other parent if you haven’t done so already. Navigating this situation without argument can be a daunting and often stressful task. Here at bbl, we are used to helping clients agree arrangements for the holidays both as legal advisers and mediators. Here are the team’s top tips:

  1. Plan ahead. It is critical to plan ahead to avoid a last-minute rush. If you discuss things in good time before the holidays begin, you are likely to be able to agree a plan that works for everyone considering any commitments and plans. This way, if there are any disagreements these can be resolved well in advance of the holiday period. It is helpful to have both a calendar and a copy of the school dates to hand when you are discussing proposed dates.
  2. Consider your commitments. If you are working parents, then you will need to factor this in. You may wish to speak with your employer about your holiday entitlement and when you are able to take this. You are likely to only have a limited amount of time and there may be restrictions on when this can be taken. You may need to think about other care arrangements such as holiday clubs and spending time with other family members.
  3. Record any agreement in writing. Once you have reached agreement, it is advisable to record the arrangements in writing. Whilst this may seem onerous, it can help avoid disputes in the future.
  4. Be flexible. There may be things that crop up which will require you to be flexible with the other parent. For example, they may want to take the children to a family event during the time that the children are due to be with you. if you can be flexible, this should reduce any animosity between you and help your co-parenting relationship moving forward. Remember, it maybe you that needs flexibility in the future!
  5. Don’t lose sight of what is important. This is about your children not how you may feel about the other parent. It is important that the children spend quality time with both parents. The aim is to be able to co-parent effectively to ensure the children know they are loved by both parents and can spend time both of you. It is important that you always put your children’s best interests first.    

What about holidays abroad?

Unless you have a Child Arrangements Order from the Court specifying the child/children live with you, you need express permission of everyone with parental responsibility before taking a child outside of England and Wales.

You should also ensure the other parent has details of the proposed trip, including, but not limited to, the destination, flight times, details of accommodation, length of stay and a contact number which the parent with care can be reached on. It is sensible to provide this information in advance, before any booking has been made, and ask the other parent to confirm their agreement in writing.

What about an existing Child Arrangement Orders?

It is important to remember that parents should consider any existing orders when discussing holiday arrangements to ensure this is complied with. If the arrangements need to be changed, this must be agreed by the parents. It is advisable to record in writing any changes.

What if we cannot agree the arrangements?

If you are having difficulty in agreeing the arrangements, then there are a variety of options. These include attending mediation, asking a solicitor to set out your proposals to the other parent in a letter or as a last resort, an application to court may be made. However, parties are encouraged where possible to avoid court as this can be expensive timely and can sometimes cause damage to the relationship with the other parent.

If you would like to discuss any difficulties you are having with your ex-partner regarding agreeing the holiday arrangements, please do get in touch by calling 01603 679050 or emailing

 *The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject, not to provide specific legal advice